Recognizing the Signs of Crystal Meth Use

Although crystal meth tends to be used by young adults, health authorities worldwide really do not know exactly how many people take crystal meth.
Educating oneself on crystal methamphetamine, what it is and who uses it, may be the fastest way to recognize its abuse by a friend or member of your household.

First of all, just to understand what this drug is and how it impacts the body is necessary.  Crystal meth is a colorless form of d-methamphetamine, and a powerful, highly-addictive stimulant.  With a long-lasting euphoric effect on the user, this odorless substance becomes easily abused.  Purer than powdered methamphetamine, crystal meth has a longer-lasting, more powerful physiological impact.  One can recognize it as shiny blue-white “rocks” or fragments of glass of different sizes.

The NDA (National Drug Institute) describes meth as a stimulant drug that affects the nervous system.  Because of its high potential for abuse, the NDA classifies this as a Schedule II drug.  Because of its addictive nature, it requires a doctor’s prescription and has limited uses.  Doses prescribed by medical professionals are considerably lower than those taken by those who abuse this drug’s use.

Although crystal meth tends to be used by young adults, health authorities worldwide really do not know exactly how many people take crystal meth.  While collecting reliable data has been challenging; a Michigan University Study (Monitoring the Future Survey), estimated that almost five percent of high school seniors  in the USA had tried crystal meth at least once, while three percent had done so during the previous 12 months.  Some people prefer crystal meth to other illicit drugs because its elicited sense of euphoria can last up to 12 hours – much longer than cocaine.  Those suffering depression may take meth for its uplifting effect, while others may be attracted to the increased libido and sexual pleasure associated with its use.  Although crystal meth is commonly smoked in glass pipes, similar to crack cocaine; it may also be injected.  Some users snort or swallow it, while others have been known to insert it into his or her anus.

The physical effects of meth are many and diverse.  They can include anorexia.  The heart can develop an abnormal rhythm, become abnormally slow or show as a pounding or racing heart.  Vision may become blurry with use, pupils dilated, or the user may experience dizziness, headaches or difficulty getting or staying asleep.  Twitching and tremors are not unusual, as well as hypertension.  Dry and itchy skin can develop, as well as acne and a pale pallor to the skin.  When doses are high, chronic users can suffer from convulsions, stroke, heart attack and even death.  Regular users are also at high risk of losing their teeth.

Recognizing behavioral symptoms may be helpful for diagnosis.  An abuser may appear aggressive, anxious; have delusions of grandiosity and a sense of invincibility.  They may exhibit compulsive skin-picking, increased energy and increased libido.  Along with paranoia, some chronic users suffer from repetitive and obsessive compulsive behaviors.  High doses taken regularly may cause psychosis.

Recognizing the physical or behavioral symptoms of this dangerous drug may allow the parent or loved one an opportunity to timely get the user into treatment, prior to greater physical impairment or death.

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